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Government: No total lockdown but current restrictions to continue over New Year

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

ECONOMYNEXT – The authorities will not enforce a total lockdown but the current restrictions imposed on travel will remain until the end of the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, the government said.

A statement issued by the Presidential Secretariat said “except for the few districts identified as high risk zones where the most number of COVID-19 patients were found, the spread of the virus at present does not pose a threat to other districts. Therefore, there is a possibility that the current restrictions imposed on these districts could be lifted by the end of the Sinhala New Year season.”

A decision as to the next step will be considered after further studying the situation, it added.

These decisions were arrived at a discussion held by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa with officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA).

GMOA President Dr Anuruddha Padeniya had told the meeting that the government’s timely actions from “when this virus first entered the country helped manage to keep the situation under control.”

“It was observed that except for the few districts identified as high-risk zones where the most number of COVID-19 patients were found, the spread of the virus at present does not pose a threat to other districts. Therefore, there is a possibility that the current restrictions imposed on these districts could be lifted by the end of the Sinhala New Year season.”

This came as the number of case rose sharply by 19 to 166 as the authorities carried out more testing in areas such as Akurana, Jaffna, Puttalam and Beruwela. Of ten people tested in Jaffna, 3 were found to be positive, Director-General of Health Services Dr. Anil Jasinghe said.

Police Spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana said that the rumours that the government was planning to impose a “total lockdown” were not true. He said the police were investigating the social media postings that spread the rumour.

“This is a calculated effort to spread panic among people and place unnecessary pressure on food stocks,” he said.  (Colombo, April 5, 2020)

 

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